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Program simplifies test-system setup and integration

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AGILENT Technologies has released Agilent Open, a program that simplifies test-system setup and integration by offering instruments based on open industry standards. It offers a wide selection of products and services designed to minimise setup time, reduce costs and speed new product development and manufacturing.

To create new test systems, or add to existing ones, engineers must often combine multi-vendor instruments that use different software and I/O technologies. This process can take anywhere from hours to weeks, depending on the complexity of the system. Then engineers must learn and manage the different software that accompanies each instrument, further slowing the process. To address these challenges, the industry is moving toward open-standards-based test tools.

Agilent Open has three key components: system-ready instruments, PC-standard I/O and open software. System-ready instruments come with I/O (such as LAN and USB) and software that automatically configures, interfaces and discovers other instruments regardless of the manufacturer. It then verifies instrument connections, reducing test setup time to minutes.

Standard PC I/O interfaces such as LAN, USB, general-purpose interface bus (GP-IB) and a host of I/O converters dramatically simplify and accelerate the process of connecting test equipment. This enables engineers to connect instruments from multiple vendors and offers the flexibility to change interfaces to meet the needs of each test system setup.

Open software programming environments give engineers the flexibility to develop test systems in programming languages they already know. Providing easy transition into Excel or programming languages such as Visual Basic, C, LabVIEW, Agilent VEE Pro and Visual C++ lets engineers focus on the results of test devices instead of the code.

Agilent Open offers basic instruments such as switches, function generators, modular power supplies and digital multimeters. These instruments meet a variety of test needs, providing the flexibility to customise systems. Signal generators, spectrum analysers, power meters and power sensors provide measurement versatility through extended test ranges and performance levels.

Software tools include Agilent VEE Pro, a graphical program that replaces tedious code. Agilent Toolkit 2.0 extends Visual Studio with everything needed to develop programs, connect to instruments, sequence tests and generate graphs and tabular results.

I/O products and software such as Agilent's I/O Library Suite 14.0, automatically recognise each instrument on the network, regardless of manufacturer. It enables the user to immediately send instrument commands to validate every I/O connection, taking 10 minutes instead of days.

Agilent Open's support of industry standards will enable current LAN-based instrumentation and future modular, LAN-based instrumentation to quickly and easily integrate into any test system.

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